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A Plea against Monsters

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Inspired by Schlenker’s (2003) seminal Plea for Monsters, linguists have been analyzing every occurrence of a shifted indexical by postulating a monstrous operator. The author’s aim in this paper is to show that Kaplan’s (1989) original strategy of explaining apparent shifting in terms of a quotational use/mention distinction offers a much more intuitive, parsimonious and empirically superior analysis of many of these phenomena, including direct–indirect switches in Ancient Greek, role shift in signed languages, free indirect discourse in literary narratives, and mixed quotation.

Affiliations: 1: University of Groningen,


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